Monday, October 24, 2011

Refraining from Self-aggression

I look in the mirror and enumerate my flaws, just the ones on my face. Puny eyelashes, so imperceptible that I squint to make sure they are still there, darkness here, there, blemishes, scars and then the thought fiercely escapes its holding cell: I hate my face.

Pema Chodron writes, “The most fundamental aggression to ourselves, the most fundamental harm we can do to ourselves, is to remain ignorant by not having the courage and the respect to look at ourselves honestly and gently.”

I try desperately to love these parts that just no longer are the same. I fail continuously at being kind to myself. I try once more to be loving and kind. I fail. And I try this time to understand that it is with ignorance that I harm myself; it is a lack of respect that I have learned from others and taught myself, but yet my holding onto their harsh words inflicts harm on myself. My refusal to love my face is cowardly and disrespectful. In the morning, I will try again to be gentle and honest.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

On bottling these moments

So often I want to bottle these tender moments with my son to put on a shelf to experience later. I want to take enumerable pictures and record each moment and write down every feeling.

Today, this two year old went upstairs on his own, climbed onto the adult, 16" toilet and made a bowel movement, and then persisted to wipe himself. I was so thrilled and he knew it. He said, "look boo boo" along with a great look of accomplishment.

This afternoon, we painted together, but then he kept messing up my artistic work. So, I decided I would read The Washington Post Mag and watch him paint. He wasn't having that; he handed me the paintbrush and said, "paint, paint." I was obedient because clearly he needed me to be fully present and clearly I needed to be fully present for myself as well.

This evening, I watched him "read" from a few books and I tiptoed away to let him entertain himself. He often seems to need attention and I desperately want to foster a sense of independence. He read a few books before coming to find me. I said go get me a book to read. He said, "c'mon" and motioned for me to come to him. He was not leaving my room without me.

He then got some lotion from my desk and I teased him and made him laugh so hard that he backed into the bed and hit the floor and continued to just laugh the happiest, purest laugh. He warms my heart.

His independence shone through as he refused two books and was happy to read the third suggestion. We followed with a few more and then sang, "He's got the whole world in his hands." He sang a few lines on his own. I kissed him and said, "good night, baby." He replied as clear as day, "good night mama." My heart melted again.

A good friend said we try to "collect" their childhoods and in so doing we fail to be fully present. I do genuinely wish I could save these moments for later. The tenderness and beauty is unmatched by anything I have ever experienced. I know that I can best honor these moments, by enjoying this little person daily.